Except for Roy Halladay and Chase Utley, things - for the most part - are looking good in camp. The biggest concern is Halladay who had struggled against the Tigers and was then pulled from his latest start after one inning due to illness. He's due to pitch in a minor league game tomorrow. As for Utley, his spring average has been low - a .227 average - but as long as he's healthy come Opening Day, I'm not concerned.
For the outfield, Revere and now Brown (YAY!!!) look to be locks with Nix and Mayberry filling out two of the last three spots. It is a competition between Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte and today's walk-off hero, Darin Ruf. Even though Ruf has hit the ball well as of late, I still send him down with Inciarte the fifth outfielder, mostly because Ruf has options & doesn't play left field well. When D. Young returns from the DL in late-April, the Phils may have to offer Inciarte back to the D'Backs.
As for the relief core, Pap, Adams, Durbin, and Bastardo are, of course, locks to make the roster. Given (1) the Phils love Aumont and Horst and with Diekman & De Fratus sent down, it's between Stutes and Valdes, with the edge to Stutes despite Valdes' age. Given Charlie doesn't like situational pitching (a la J.C. Romero), Stutes wins the competition.
- Speaking of J.C. Romero, he just signed a minor league deal with the Nats with an invitation to camp. He'll likely start the year in AAA Syracuse as a "depth signing."
And a decision is impending on the infield, with the Phils seemingly leaning toward releasing Bentacourt. He's making it a tough decision for the Phils, who like Galvis' defense enough to keep him on the big-league roster. Frandsen is a lock to make the roster. The decision is due on Sunday around five o'clock (i.e. close of business).
No word yet on the catchers, but the April back-up job to Eric Kratz seems to be Quintero's job to lose.
Five Bold Predictions:
- Phils lose Opening Day in a pitching duel between Hamels and Hudson. Score: 2-1 (a no-decision for Hamels)
- Phils struggle in April, but do manage a 15-13 record in the month (not including the Indians game). Halladay struggles and defense is off to a slow start.
- Despite losing O.D. and struggling in April, the team still win 84-87 games this year; they do make the postseason, albeit as a wild-card.
- Brown wins a silver slugger award by hitting 25 HRs & 100+ RBIs. He falls just short of Gold Glove status while earning some MVP votes.
- Hamels is - at the VERY least - in the top three in Cy Young voting with 19-21 wins, a 2.50 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, four CG, two shut-outs, which includes his first career no-hitter.